It is a move mirroring the historical sequence of events in the 1970’s: Hot off the heels on his work with Alice Cooper‘s Welcome 2 My Nightmare, long time rock producer Bob Ezrin is reportedly back in the studio remixing the classic KISS album Destroyer, which celebrated its 35th anniversary this year.
Gene Simmons announced that the album will be re-released as a Deluxe Edition during 2012 complete with unreleased tracks, and the original artwork designed by Ken Kelly. Destroyer, along with the band’s breakthrough live album KISS Alive!, is frequently pointed to as a significant album for the band — it was a solid stepping stone to the heights of success they would claim in the late Seventies, and serve as a major influence for many bands ranging from the lightest of popular rock through to the darkest of black metal.
Destroyer contained the classic rock edge of the band in “Detroit Rock City,” a harder virulence that would further develop individual band members such as in “God of Thunder,” and the more experimental steps past their previous benchmarks in songs such as “Great Expectations” and “Beth.”
While there is no official word on specifically what unreleased songs may be included, the hardcore KISS fans may have an idea. Peter Criss‘ “None of your Business” has disseminated through the bootleg circuit for decades, and there was word of an Ace Frehley song called “Queen For A Day” many years ago – it’s quite possible that these never-before-released songs may make an appearance.
Formerly released on the KISS Box Set was the original demo of “God of Thunder” sung by Paul Stanley, which could make an appearance; as well as other demos of the existing songs. There is always the chance we might see the addition of some live versions and remixes too, but at this point, anyone’s guess is as good as mine.
I would hope that Ezrin, Simmons, and Stanley include previously unheard original songs for the fans.
The prototype album cover was initially rejected by KISS, Aucoin Management, and Casablanca Records. In 1995, in preparation for the KISS Convention Tour and on the KISS My Ass home video, Gene Simmons revealed the original painting stating that it was refused based on the fact that artist Ken Kelly had painted the band in their Dressed To Kill / Alive costumes, instead of the newer Destroyer outfits.
While this could partially be a rationale for the exclusion, Ken Kelly reveals in a video below that another contributing factor was that the original design might be considered too violent – with the extensive destruction outlined in the background.
This may seem hard to believe in this day and age, but it does need to be considered where KISS was in 1976. The band were hot on the heels of their most successful album to date, and their fan base was extending into the younger teenage demographic. Couple that with the fact that Bill Aucoin and Neil Bogart, vital business men behind-the-scenes of 1970’s KISS, had their eyes on the merchandise marketing aspect – which would attract a larger demographic of younger children.
In 1976, KISS were considering carefully into their next steps that would take them to a much higher level of success – a careful consideration that would evolve both the KISS band and the KISS brand. Ken Kelly would become a big part of KISStory, when he would return in 1977 to paint the front cover artwork design for Love Gun; and also contributed artwork for the 1990’s KISS graphic novel KISSNATION.
Meanwhile, in other KISS news, the band is continuing development of their next album, entitled Monster. The new release is said to be a cross between Destroyer with touches of Revenge and Sonic Boom.
Simmons states Monster will be released along with a new DVD, and a huge book that (by the sounds of its size) could potentially be the third volume in the KISSTORY series… though that is of course yet to be substantiated and clarified by the band. Monster will be released during the Spring of 2012.